High food prices 'to push Eurasia into poverty'
Washington, April 16, 2011
More than five million people risk falling into poverty in Eastern Europe and Central Asia as a result of higher food and energy prices, a World Bank official said.
'While we do see steady growth projected this year and next in the region, there are certainly big risks associated with the sharp rise in global food and energy prices,' said Ted Ahlers, World Bank operations director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
The most vulnerable countries are the Kyrgyz Republic, Armenia, Georgia, Tajikistan, and Moldova, which are net importers, he said.
Energy exporters in the region are benefiting from price rises, Ahlers said. Azerbaijan, Russia, and Kazakhstan account for 15 per cent of the world's production, he added.
The World Bank projects around 4 per cent annual growth for the region in 2011 and the same pace in 2012. 'The bad news is that this is slower than the rest of the world,' Ahlers said.
The region was hit hard by the recent economic downturn but has been recovering from it at a sluggish pace, he added.-Reuters